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and diadems of earth. To win one immortal spirit to Christ is to perform an office with which no worldly labor can compare, and to attain an end which richly compensates a weary life-time of toil. It will afford ineffable satisfaction to be conscious of having been the instrument of adding a single crown-jewel to the treasures of a Savior once crucified, now despised, but destined to reign King of kings and Lord of lords. To be impelled to labor by the love of sinners is to partake of the spirit of Jesus, to undergo in this work discouragement, self-denial and pain, is to share the sufferings of Jesus, and to prosecute it unto the end through watchings, fastings, temptations, and tears, will be to participate in the joy of Jesus and reign with Him forevermore. Brethren, the day in which we are privileged to labor for our blessed Master, with some of us at least, is sensibly passing away. “The night cometh when no man can work.” Happy, thrice happy will he be who, standing on the extreme verge of life, and looking back upon his mortal history, can feel that its record of sins and short-comings in the ministry is expunged in the blood of atonement, and looking forward to the future, opening upon him with the glories of a celestial morning, can exclaim with the dying apostle,-“I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day!”

THE PROSPERITY AND EFFICIENCY

OF A CHURCH

Ephesians iv, 15, 16: “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."

In the previous part of this chapter the apostle furnishes an exposition of the unity of the church and of the different offices which for her edification and perfection had been conferred upon her by the ascended Savior. In the text, he sets forth the nature of her relation to Christ, of her own organic constitution, and of the process by, which her vital energy is communicated and increased. In introducing, my brethren, on this occasion some reflections growing out of the past history of this congregation, your attention is directed to the question,

-How may the prosperity and efficiency of a church be secured?–a sufficiently full and comprehensive answer to which inquiry is afforded in the words of the text.

NOTE.—To this sermon, preached in 1860, is appended the following note : Preached in the Second Presbyterian Church, Charleston, at the request of the pastor, the Rev. Dr. Smyth, at the expiration of the fiftieth year of the existence of the church. It was expected that on that occasion a series of discourses would be preached by those who had formerly been connected with the church, and that so an aggregate of personal reminiscences would be attained. The coming on of the war prevented the arrangement from being fully carried out. This justifies the amount of personal allusion in the concluding part of the sermon.”

I. The first point which claims our notice is the fact asserted by the apostle that the church as the body of Christ derives all her life and vigor from Him as her head.

The Scriptures represent, by means of various striking analogies, falling within the scope of ordinary observation, the intimate relation which subsists between Christ and His church. At one time this union is compared to that between the branch and its parent stem. “I am the vine," said the Savior, in His valedictory discourse to His disciples, “ye are the branches. . Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself except it abide in the vine; no more can ye except ye abide in me.” As long as the branch is united to the vine the vital juices which constitute the life and vigor of the parent stock are by natural processes conveyed to it. Its life depends on its connection with the vine. Destroy this union, sunder the branch from the vine, and it instantly begins to wither and die. In like manner the church, sustaining an intimate union to Christ, derives from Him those vital influences without which she could not for a moment exist in her spiritual integrity and power.

At another time this union between the Savior and His church is likened to that which exists between a husband and his wife, who, upon the constitution of the matrimonial bond, by the ordinance of God, cease to be twain and become one flesh: and in this point of view marriage rises above the ordinary relations of life and becomes a significant type of the union which exists between Christ and His elect and ransomed bride. "For this cause," says Paul in this same epistle, "shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is

a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”

But perhaps the most forcible and instructive analogy which is employed to describe this relation is that which is derived from the connection between the human body and its head. This is the illustration furnished in the text, and very strikingly expressed in a parallel passage which occurs in the Epistle to the Colossians,—"and not holding the head from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.” In consequence of the connection existing between them, the vital influence descending from the head is communicated to the body, pervades every member and secures the regular and healthful discharge of all the bodily functions. Destroy this union and the body at once becomes paralyzed and ceases to perform its offices. It is no longer a living thing—it is a corpse. This beautifully illustrates the relation between Christ and the church. He is the head, of which she is the mystical but real body. A living influence, an operative energy flows down from Him to the church, diffuses itself through her whole being, animates all her members, and enables her to accomplish all those salutary ministries for which her very existence was designed. If this vital union exists in its native force, the church is alive and vigorous. If not, she dies. She may be adorned with the garniture and beauty of imposing rites, ceremonies and sacraments, but they are the ornaments whi deck the corpse for the grave.

If now the question be raised in regard to the nature of that living influence which is dispensed from Christ as the head of the church as his body, the answer is plain. The Scriptures uniformly represent

the life of the church to be the Holy Spirit. “If any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of His.”

How the Spirit is the life of Christ, by virtue of whom Christ is our life, it is not now necessary to inquire. This we know, that in Christ "dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily," and that, therefore, in Him the fulness of the Spirit dwells. As mediator, the Spirit of the Lord God was upon Him; to Him the Spirit was not given by measure; in the day of His solemn induction by baptism into His mediatorial offices, the Spirit descended and rested on Him, and we have reason to believe that by the indwelling influence of the Holy Ghost He was qualified for the accomplishment of that glorious mission upon which He came as the incarnate Savior into the world. The exceeding greatness of that power by which Christ was raised from the dead was immediately exercised by the Spirit of God. The Savior having accomplished His mediatorial work on earth, purchased, according to the stipulations of the everlasting covenant, the influences of the Holy Spirit, and being by the right hand of God exalted He sues out by His intercessions the saving grace of the Spirit and dispenses it with princely munificence to His body the church. The Spirit thus dwelling in Christ, comes down with the commission of the exalted Redeemer, endorsed, so to speak, with the seal of the Father, and by His new-creating energy communicates a new life—the life of Christ—to the dead sinner, empowers him to exercise faith in the Son of God and constitutes a vital relation between him and his Savior. Then establishing His permanent residence in the believer, the Spirit sanctifies him in Christ Jesus, forms in him Christ the hope of glory, assimilates him to the image of Christ and endures him

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